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Movie Review: Hotel Transylvania: Family Laughs and Silly Monsters
by Benjamin Willett, Contributing Writer

SYNOPSIS: Welcome to Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's (voice of Adam Sandler) lavish resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. It's a special weekend and Dracula has invited some of his best friends -Frankenstein (Kevin James) and his wife, the Mummy (Cee-Lo Green), the Invisible Man (David Spade), Quasimodo (John Lovitz), the Werewolf family, and many more - to celebrate his beloved daughter Mavis' (Selena Gomez) 118th birthday. For Dracula, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem - but everything could change when a human stumbles into the hotel and falls for Mavis.

A Classic Tale

It’s an age-old story of an overprotective daddy not wanting to let go of his precious little girl.Dracula will stop at nothing to keep his daughter at home in the hotel for the rest of her life—which is a very long time for a vampire—and the comedy that results is laugh-out-loud funny.Comedy that’s nothing new, mind you. It’s a short list of fart jokes, bathroom humor and sarcastic monster puns geared toward the previous generation that the kids might not get. Still, it’s funny and clean enough for the whole family to enjoy.

Monsters and Mayhem

The kid-friendly monsters, voiced by a wonderful cast, make this movie great fun. The animation is excellent and makes the film quite nice to look at and the 3D is pleasantly unobtrusive. Director Genndy Tartakovsky, whose previous work includes the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, keeps everything rolling at breakneck speed the entire way. The action stops only to take a couple of breaths throughout the movie for an intimate moment or two between daddy and daughter and then we’re back to crashing through the hotel.

There is so much going on and so much to follow, laced throughout with witty monster humor,younger kids may have a difficult time following the actually story. And the story is quite simple and familiar: a discontent daughter arguing for her freedom and a paranoid father doing all he can to keep her sheltered. Overall, we’re presented themes dealing with prejudice, fear and family, but as aware as we are of these themes they all seem to be overshadowed by the flashing imagery and perpetual humor. Which isn’t a bad thing in itself, given how entertaining it all is.

Nothing But Entertainment

It’s an animated kids’ movie, and one that isn’t that different from most others, most notably in the area of message. For example, kids generally know better than their parents; true love is that feeling you get when you meet that special someone; everyone, in the end, gets to be happy, as long you listen to your heart. These are messages that, for the most part, contradict reality butmake for great feel-good movies.

Are there good things about this movie? Absolutely! You’ve got a father who loves his little girl and wants the best for her, a daughter who actually respects her dad, and a whole lot of loving,extended family. You’ve also got a grand reminder not to be prejudice in your thinking toward other people. The fact that acting selfishly can bring ruin is even attempted!

But HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA is, in the end, merely an entertaining movie. And that’s as it should be. It’s a great family-friendly monster mash with laughs for kids and parents alike. And there are enough themes woven into the story so that, even if the kids only remember the slapstick and corny jokes, it’s a great way to start a conversation about the true meaning of love and family.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA is rated PG for very mild crude humor.

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